World Bulletin/News Desk
The United States has allocated $40 million to assist relief agencies aiding victims of the Syrian crisis, the Department of State has said. “The United States is pursuing every avenue to get humanitarian relief to those affected by the violence in Syria and is engaged in focused diplomatic efforts to secure full and unfettered access for humanitarian organizations to reach those in need,” the Department said in a statement.
The U.S. assistance includes “food, clean water, basic health care, and medical and other emergency relief supplies.” The statement also praised the governments of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq for keeping their countries’ borders open for Syrian refugees.
The United Nations said weeks ago that more than 9000 people had been killed in Syria since the outbreak of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. Syrian activists have reported hundreds of new deaths in the past few weeks, including those reported during a ceasefire that has been officially in place in Syria since mid-April.
Earlier this week, UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan who brokered a peace plan to end the 14-month conflict warned that the country was on the brink of a “full civil war” as violence continued despite the presence of UN-backed international monitors tasked with observing the truce.
On Thursday, at least 55 people, mostly civilians, were killed and some 370 injured in two powerful blasts that rocked a highway near the Syrian capital, Damascus, during morning peak hour.
Russian acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday Moscow would not change its position on Syria despite pressure from outside.
“There are people who want to put pressure on us to change our position. We will not concede to this pressure,” he said. Russia and China have twice vetoed the UN Security Council resolutions over what they called a pro-rebel bias since the start of the Syrian uprising, but have given their full backing to Annan’s peace plan.
Brazil approves a record number of refugee applications - more in one day than the whole of 2013.
The protesters headed to the hospital soon after they wrapped up a demonstration in Benghazi's Independence Street in support of the Libyan army and against what they called "terrorism".
"The municipalities had to discharge wastewater into the sea without treatment, which might cause a major health crisis," Nazar Hegazi, head of Gaza municipality, said.
Osama Hamdan, Hamas' foreign relations chief, said lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has been in place since 2006, is the main demand of Hamas.
The Israeli army may substitute the new reservists with troops that are serving on the Gaza front now to give them some rest.
Bolivian President Evo Morales lambasted Israel over the military offensive in Gaza and tore up a long-standing free entry agreement with the country.
The dead included 37 women and children, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
Spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN will remain as a talks facilitator between Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
Four sources in Lebanon named the Hezbollah commander as Ibrahim al-Haj, a technical specialist involved in training.
Ukrainian government troops have advanced against rebels in eastern Ukraine since the start of the month, when they pushed the rebels out of their best-defended stronghold, the town of Slaviansk.
"NATO has been too complacent about the threat from Russia, and it is not well-prepared," Britain's Parliament's Defence Select Committee said.
"No delegation is in Cairo yet…These reports are devoid of truth," senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq said
As a result, the overhaul of the national budget and the country's health insurance is in limbo
Police in Beijing in January detained Ilham Tohti, a well-known economist who has championed the rights of the Muslim Uighur community
In recent months, South Sudan's rivals held on-again, off-again peace negotiations in Addis Ababa under the IGAD auspices.
The school was the second such UNRWA facility to be hit by the Israeli army within one week. On Thursday, at least 15 Palestinian civilians were killed when the Israeli army shelled the Beit Hanoun school, also in northern Gaza Strip.